Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo, says art tourism has the potential of rekindling local economies, as a form of travel that revolves around artistic and cultural activities, in tourist or historical settings, informing that arts and culture depict the life of a people.
Speaking during a visit to the Bayelsa State Government’s approved gallery, Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery (MEA Gallery), located at the Oxbow Lake, Swali-Yenagoa, on Wednesday, Dr. Kiyaramo, made a passionate appeal to public and private sectors, including multinational oil corporations and well-meaning individuals, to invest in arts and culture, pointing out that arts epitomize societal values, guiding philosophy, and the evolution of its civilization.
He maintained that museums, galleries, festivals, and sculpture installations have become the primary motivation for a large number of tourists who are drawn away from other places to art destinations, reiterating that the art gallery audience has become an important potential for the future of art from the market generation perspective.
According to the governor’s aide, art tourism offers unique travel experiences as well as contributes to conservation efforts and reappropriation of cultural spaces that might have otherwise been lost, He explained that art tourism translates to exploring historical sites, museums, galleries, towns, or exhibits with a fresh perspective.
“Apart from attracting visitors, art galleries also create a platform for promoting social and environmental awareness, while preserving historical structures and creating participatory space for tourists to see artists perform on locations as well,” Dr. Kiyaramo noted
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer and Curator, Mr. Macaualy Eteli, said MEA Gallery, which was opened to the public on March 4, 2023, will serve as a tourist destination for local, national, and international visitors as a center for excellence in visual art, with a view to running mentorship programs for children, students, and adults alike in fine art drawing, painting, and sculpting.
Mr. Eteli maintained that viewing art reduces stress and increases brain power to assimilate information better, saying that “viewing art is relaxing and also helps you to mind-travel to different places without leaving your home. Creating art or viewing art reduces stress and increases brain power.”
“MEA Gallery welcomes filmmakers to shoot and premiere their movies for a price. We intend to preserve two in-gallery group exhibitions annually and present one outdoor art exhibition annually at a minimal cost to exhibitors and entry for visitors.
Also speaking, a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Bayelsa State chapter, Ms. Kariyai Prisca Ingo, commended Macaulay Eteli for setting up the art gallery in Yenagoa, adding that the gallery would provide a space to groom upcoming artists as well as enhance the appeal and aesthetic value of the state capital as a good site for shooting movies.